John and I will be be heading back to Haiti next month and it’s breaking my heart.
When we go together it is usually because John has me oversee the building of houses. This past October we were there to build and give away 8 homes to the homeless, oversee some modifications to the water system in the village and (John’s idea) do a marriage seminar which he delegated to me.
It was a very successful trip. During the building of these homes, we employed and contracted about 100 men and women for construction, excavation, road building, painting, plumbing, trenching and the preparation of lunches for many of them. The money they earned will help them get by until they find more work. Unemployment is outrageous in Haiti… some saying as high as 85%. I don’t know if it’s that high, but as Haiti is the poorest nation in our hemisphere, I wouldn’t doubt it. Many of those we employ live right there in Village de Merci a Dieu. (Village of Thanks to God.)
Karl is one of the hardest workers there and a consummate family man. I have contracted him to do excavation work that is required before the house foundation is dug. He worked from sun up to sun down, even past the time his own hired workers went home. He wanted to be sure to get the job done on-time. When I asked him to join me on another job where I needed his tenacity, he declined, telling me that he needed to spend some quality time with his large family. There are eight kids packed into his two-room home.
Then there is 15-year-old Damas. He works so that he can pay for some of his schooling that his parents cannot afford. He made just enough to get him through the rest of the year. Damas is funny and hard working.
And the list and stories go on:
• Junior wants to afford to go to school to become a taxi driver so that he can support his family.
• Joe and John, my hardest workers, have an entrepreneurial bent in them. They are trying to start a business but haven’t found the right thing, so instead, they find work where they can.
• Mike is a hard working young man I am helping by paying for his schooling. (Only about $250 a year for school, books and uniform). He is a musician and worship leader with a heart for his heavenly Father.
But unless things change, we will not be able to employ these dear friends when we go back in January. Our trip will be purely housekeeping, not house building. We will make sure the water well is functioning properly, visit with families, and attend a few weddings that are a result of the marriage seminar. BUT NO HOUSES!
For the first time that I know of, we do not have the funds to build more homes. We need about $10,000 per house, which includes the infrastructure to support the dwelling, vehicle rentals, translators, food and other incidentals of construction. ($5750 pays for concrete blocks, cement and mortor.) To build one house or eight houses, the process takes us three and a half weeks, so it is more cost effective to build eight at a time. In the village we have sixteen lots left on which to build homes.
When we go in January, it will be good to see all the friends I have come to enjoy in Haiti, but my heart will ache when I have to tell them that there will be no work this time. Of course they will be glad to see us and bless us with their smiles and hospitality.
I am asking you to pray with us that God will make provision for our journey as He sees fit. He always has a plan and we trust him whatever the circumstances. If you or someone you know could help financially… perhaps even make it a church project . . .any amount would be profoundly appreciated. (Click on the “Ways to Give” button to your right for a convenient way to donate!)
However it goes…Housekeeping or House Building…I look forward, as Karl suggested, to spending QUALITY TIME with my large Haitian family.
(Click on the “Ways to Give” button to your right for a convenient way to donate!)